We’ve heard about it since he announced his candidacy in 2015: President Donald Trump wants to build a wall. A huge wall.
However, building a wall is not the most effective way to handle immigration. Instead, Trump should consider overhauling the immigration system. Instead of focusing his energy (and our money, not Mexico’s) on keeping certain people out, Trump should spearhead the development of a more effective, streamlined immigration process. There needs to be a more efficient way for people enter the United States.
Many of these people who are crossing the border are fleeing dangerous countries. They are running away from the violence of drug cartels or oppressive governments. They are doing it for their safety – for their families. In fact, if Trump were in similar circumstances, I imagine he would do everything in his power to get himself and his family to safety.
If immigration reform is one of Trump’s main concerns, he should focus on overhauling the entire system of entry – making it possible for the people in desperate need of refuge to have their travels expedited. After all, we would likely do the same if we were living under similarly dangerous conditions. Instead, we will be pouring an estimated $27 billion to $40 billion dollars on a wall, MIT projects.
You see, building a wall is focusing our attention on a very inconsequential part of immigration. In other words, Trump is putting a lot of very expensive eggs into one very small basket. By directing governmental money and resources at only one facet of immigration instead of addressing the matter as a whole, Trump only chips away a small piece. Also, if you build a bigger wall, people will just build taller ladders.
Sure, Trump claims that Mexico is going to pay for the wall, but on what grounds can we expect for this to happen – especially considering the level of dissent by both current and former Mexican leaders?
Former Mexican President Vicente Fox expressed his frustration Trump’s way: via Twitter.
“Sean Spicer, I’ve said this to @realDonaldTrump and now I’ll tell you: Mexico is not going to pay for that f—— wall,” Fox wrote in the tweet.
In reality, we are literally going to pay for the wall. Congress will have to foot the bill until, in Trump’s mind, Mexico pays it forward. He can tell himself as much as he wants that Mexico will reimburse us, but he is quickly realizing that he can’t force a country to pay for a wall – hence the 20 percent import tariff on products shipped from Mexico.
A 20 percent tariff would certainly put a dent in the overhead. But let’s get real – what good would that do to our relations with Mexico, a strong ally and a nation we depend on for trade?
Second to Trump’s priority of building the wall is his promise of job creation. And for those who believe this wall will be a source of jobs for the American people, take a closer look: the jobs the wall will bring in are really only for a specific sector.
If construction jobs are such a concern, how about focusing on something with a longer-lasting impact, that is less consequential on the environment? Say, building wind farms along the coasts.
Speaking of the environment, the wall will be built to the detriment of the environment. What about the land mammals that regularly travel across the border? Are they supposed to abide by our immigration standards, too? The BBC reported that a border wall would restrict local groups of certain mammals and could lead to speciation or a loss of population.
It’s been a phrase that people dish out in regards to Trump’s strong arm policy toward immigration: We are a nation founded upon immigrants. Trump, himself, is a descendent of European immigrants and is currently married to one. Instead of focusing our resources and tax dollars on a wall, why not turn our attention to the more pressing issues — say, our failed immigration system, climate change or international relations?